Vacuum Forming tool

Unmasking the power of vacuum forming: Where suction meets function

Have you ever found yourself looking at a plastic object and wondering, “How on earth did they make this?” Well, your curiosity is about to be satisfied in a spectacularly hilarious, professional, and friendly way! Let’s take a look at the world of vacuum forming. 

Now, don’t let the term ‘vacuum’ mislead you into thinking about cleaning your house; instead, think of it as a superhero power in the hands of manufacturing enthusiasts!

What is vacuum forming? The plastic magic explained

Vacuum forming is an extraordinary manufacturing process that gently persuades plastic to take the shape of your design. 

A sheet of plastic is heated and placed over or into a mould. It is then pulled tight to the mould using a vacuum. As the plastic cools, it takes the shape of the mould.

The quality of the mould is the unsung hero here – the better the mould, the better the parts final shape. It’s like using a high-quality yoga mat versus a slippery rug!

Axiom design: Masters of vacuum forming tooling

At Axiom, we are the design gurus who master the art of this plastic shaping technique. Whether you’re on a shoestring budget or ready to splurge, we’re your go-to team for the right material for your project. 

Our tooling can be made from either model board or aluminium for a more expensive but longer lasting option. It’s like choosing between a sturdy pair of trainers or shiny, long-lasting shoes – each perfect for different occasions.

And if your project requires a tool with bells and whistles like temperature control or actuators, we’ve got you covered. Think of us as the Swiss Army Knife of vacuum forming!

The Axiom design team specialises in the production of this type of tooling. Our designers will advise you on the best choice of material for your project based on the type of application, the number of moulds to be taken from the tool and your budget. 

Axiom CNC machinery: The Michelangelo of plastic shaping

Our CNC machinery is like the Michelangelo of the plastic world, cutting the mould tools to precision, ensuring a smooth and blemish-free surface. 

Picture this; we once created a mould for a high-end jeweller in the shape of a jewel for their range of Christmas decorations. Talk about adding a sparkle to the holidays!

Vacuum forming/mould machining | Axiom
Textured surface - Vacuum forming tool

Complex tooling: Temperature controlled with or without pneumatic actuators

Complex vacuum forming tools are also a regular feature on our shop floor and we can readily advise what is required for your application. 

Larger tools may need to be temperature controlled to ensure that the plastic cools at a controlled temperature in each area of the tool to ensure the correct shape is formed.

This can be achieved by venting the tool with small holes strategically placed to ventilate the mould surface or by adding inlets and outlets to allow water to flow through pipes under the tool’s surface to cool the mould surface.

We can even add pneumatic actuators to the underside of vacuum forming tools. These pneumatic sliders use compressed air to move slides, allowing the mould to be undercut under vacuum pressure.

Now that’s smart engineering!

Textured surface - Vacuum forming tool

Textured surfaces: Because smooth isn’t always better

At Axiom, we know that not everyone likes their finished product to be as smooth as possible. That’s why we offer vacuum mould tools with bespoke textured finishes, adding a unique touch to your product.

Conversely, as required, a vacuum mould tool can also be partially textured to give the customer a partially textured, partially smooth surface finish on the final product.

Contact us if you think vacuum forming may be the way to manufacture your product.

We can advise you if this method is suitable and how to get the best performance from your tooling within your budget.

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